Sunday, February 24, 2008
Anyway, read about the 3 million sensible Americans here.
" It's Pat. Have you heard about Richard's wife?"
My friends and I are at the age when stuff happens. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of the Courthouse.
Turns out that Jan was at UAMS in the ICU. She came down with flu like symptoms earlier in the week. She kept getting worse. Last Monday she was too weak to walk so they called the ambulance. Double-pneumonia.
When I got there the situation had deteriorated even further. She was sedated and on a ventilator. She had gone septic which had caused her kidneys to stop working. So they had started her on dialysis. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Neither could her husband.
" How can a person be perfectly healthy earlier in the week and now THIS?" he asked, gesturing at the person behind the glass. " I mean, I would understand it if a car accident caused this but a cold or flu? I can't believe this!" I looked over his shoulder at the figure of their daughter Ann Marie curled up in a ball at a chair beside her mother's bed. Red eyes. Blank expression. Poor baby.
At that moment my phone buzzed. It was maximum girlfriend emeritus LS. I stepped back into the waiting room.
"Is Richard with you now?" she asked.
" No. And hello to you as well."
" Don't talk. Listen."
OK. This ought to be good.
" My friend Angie? You remember?"
" She was admitted over there 3 weeks ago with the same symptoms. They treated her they same way they are treating Jan. Angie died last night."
" Jesus. I'm so sorry. What....."
"Something called BOOP." She is from North Little Rock. She pronounced it "Beeeeewp."
"I don't know but you better hope Jan doesn't have it. I just wanted to call you and tell you that you need to keep your eyes open wide. Because things can get ugly real fast."
I looked it up on the Internet when I got home. BOOP stands for Broncholitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia. Jesus. I will never think of Betty Boop in the same way again.
I have known Richard and his family for 20 some odd years. Richard, Pat, Rick and I used to play doubles every Sunday. I played competitively back in those days. The only time I had fun playing tennis was on Sunday with the guys. Jan would never come watch us play having had sufficient juvenalia on the job with the Kindergarten class.
I remembered all of the Saturday nights at my house after the Razorback games down the street, drinking beer and laughing. One night some sorority type showed up while we were all there looking for their son Martin. I asked her how she found my house. She said she asked a cop doing traffic control if he knew where I lived. Damned if he didn't know. Richard allowed as how the cop must've been a member of the Vice Squad who was moonlighting at the Razorback game.
I sang at Ann Marie's wedding. It is typical for there to be some rough spots in the planning of any wedding and Ann Marie's was no different. Predictably, Richard got sideways with the caterer. I happened to be standing there at the reception hall when he was threatening to fire them a week before the ceremony. "Mrs. P" as she was always referred to asked me if she could speak to her husband in private. "Yes Ma'am" I muttered as I sprinted to the door.
The caterer was not fired.
Such a fine family. Such good friends. Such happy memories.
Now this. Of all damn things.
We take good fortune as a given. We assume that if we live in a certain way in certain parts of town that are somehow immune to the trouble that besets everybody else. The most happy tunes are whistled in the dark. The old hymn says God "lends us breath." You don't get to keep what is loaned. We forget that. Or at least we do until a loved one goes down.
The word from the hospital today is guardedly hopeful. Her lungs are clearing. Her blood pressure is increasing. Betty Boop's name has not been mentioned. The doctors want to start weaning her off the sedation in order to see if she can breathe on her own. That, and they need to start talking to their patient. Right now, the telemetry and the lab work is doing her talking for her. She would hate that. Mrs. P is a talker and nobody puts words in her mouth. Fire the caterer huh? We'll just see about THAT.
I'll praise my God who lends me me breath. And I look forward to the day when Mrs. P catches hers again.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Kentucky basketball fans are to hoops as LSU fans are to football. Do you think they believe they gave Billy Gillespie a 6 million dollar deal to get blown out by the resident scholars of the SEC?
As one of my old professors used to say, " To ask the question is to answer it."
A tmfw thanks once again to Kassi for keeping me abreast of all things Orleans Parish.
If you don't get the Oompa Loompa reference scroll down, Moses.
We do not make this stuff up.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Who says the economy is slowing down?
Monday, February 11, 2008
Many thanks to my young friend Kassi Burns for passing along this item about an undoubtedly soon-to-be-heavily-sanctioned fellow Tulane Law alum.
A postscript: You will note that this whackjob ran or is running for NOLA City Council. In purusing his list of endorsements I couldn't but notice the name of famous NPR journalist Andre Codrescu.
Andre oughtta sue.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
" I just got my gas bill. I about fainted when I opened it up," she said.
" How much was it, Miss Jean?, " asked the female postal worker as she applied the postage to the box being mailed by the lady.
" 300 dollars! Ted paid all the bills so maybe it has been that high in the past and I never knew it. But I never saw one that high."
" It was awful cold last month, Miss Jean."
" It wasn't that cold. Anyway, I called the gas company to see if there was a mistake."
" What did they say?'
" Well I told them that I had never seen a bill that high before. Of course, Ted paid all the bills."
" Yes ma'am Miss Jean. But what did they tell you?"
" They told me that the reason why the bill was so high was because there weren't two bodies producing heat in the house now that Ted's died which makes the house colder."
The postal worker looked at Miss Jean in stunned silence. Eventually she spoke.
" Jean, that's just ridiculous." she said.
" Well, that's what I thought. I had half a mind to go to the main office downtown and hit somebody with this walking stick. But then my son told me that the gas company doesn't have an office in Little Rock anymore," Jean said.
" They probably don't come to think of it."
" I wouldn't know. Ted paid all the bills. But I sure have been forced to learn a lot of stuff lately."
And with that Miss Jean took her leave.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
" God, I hate Phoenix," said the nice lady sitting next to me on my flight to Tucson last year. " Phoenix is just so big. Tucson is more...is more..."
"More what?" I asked.
"Manageable. Tucson is a lot more manageable than Phoenix is. Phoenix is awful."
I have a cousin who is a banker over there. I asked him if he ever went out to suburban Glendale to watch the Phoenix Cardinals play. The perenially dreadful Cardinals, who are easily the worst managed franchise in professional sports, worse than the Los Angeles Clippers even, are the only NFL team where you can still walk up and buy tickets most games. I would go just to see an NFL game despite the fact that the Cardinals suck out loud. God knows that was the only reason I took in a couple of Saints games back in the early Eighties when I was matriculating at Tulane.
" Hell, no" my cousin replied. " I occasionally come into some tickets at the bank. But it's just too much friggin' trouble to get out there with the traffic and everything. It's not worth it."
Glendale Arizona is the site of this year's high holy day of the American civic religion known as pro football. The game will be played at deceptively named University of Phoenix Stadium. The University of Phoenix is a nationwide diploma mill who acquired the naming rights to the place despite the fact that the only tenants there are the Cardinals and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. They got themselves a high dollar stadium without either a team or much of a school for that matter.
Ain't marketing grand?
As I have stated elsewhere, I'm not much of a pro football fan. I follow the Saints for some reason but it is rare that I will actually watch a game. Indeed, the two league playoff games a few weeks ago were the first time I watched two NFL games back-to-back since, well, last year. The NFL is too slick, too stuck on itself and its "brand." If IBM invented a sport it would be NFL football.
Still, I am kind of interested in tomorrow's game if only to see if the New England Patriots can pull off what I'm pretty sure would be a once-in-a-lifetime deal: Go undefeated.
Understand, as Wally Hall would say, that the NFL is a rigged game. I don't mean that in the illegal sense, unlike the NBA of the last couple of years where damned if it didn't turn out that some of the games were rigged by a dirty referee. What I mean is that the NFL, for all of it's corporate atmosphere, is a socialist system where parity among the teams is the goal of the draft and the salary caps all teams work under. No owner can buy a title in the NFL. And the Yankee teams of recent vintage have proven that it is increasingly damned difficult to do it in baseball.
So for the New England Patriots to have run the table, and for the most part in convincing fashion, is pretty remarkable. The system is just not set up to produce perenially dominating teams. It's not good for business. Not that anybody in the NFL is going broke. Even the execrable Cardinals turn a nice profit every year due to revenue sharing. Nowhere else in professional sports is such incompetent management rewarded as in the NFL.
So? What about the game itself? It's hard to bet against the Patriots. They play just enough defense to slow the Giants down and they have too many weapons on offense. Still, the Giants have got a puncher's chance. They scared the bejeezus out of the Patriots back in December. And if you go with the "hot team" theory of prognostication, nobody has played better than the Giants in the last month.
Nobody but the Patriots that is. And the idiotic playoff format used by the NFL with the two week layoff between the playoff games and the Super Bowl pretty much penalizes any team that is counting on momentum to get them over.
It says here that the Patriots win in a squeaker and ride off into NFL immortality with a season you will never see again.
Because the NFL is a rigged game. Domination is bad for business.